Saturday, May 26, 2012

Jeremiah 29:11

'"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."'  -Jeremiah 29:11

I've heard that that verse since I was in middle school and could repeat it to anyone who asked. However, as I'm becoming older and more wiser (or maybe just older), I'm beginning to understand it rather than just saying it. 

God already knows our plans in life. He made them. However, He gives us a choice to follow them, or follow our own plans. In Jeremiah 29:11, He said that HIS plans will prosper us and not harm us. 

In youth group, what feels like many moons ago, one of the women that volunteered and taught our class told me a story that has always stuck with me. She said:
She used to pray and ask God to show her who she was going to marry. He did one night in a dream. That marriage was difficult on her and in the end not the right one. She realized that she asked God to show her who she was going to marry and not who HE wanted her to marry. 

So having said all this, it's about time for me to graduate. Ten more weeks and I couldn't be more excited!   With all this excitement there is also a lot of stress, anticipation, and worry with becoming ready for the registry and then trying to find a job somewhere. It's scary really. I'm growing up and would rather just move to Neverland with Peter, but I couldn't find any airline that offers flights to Neverland so that's out of the question. I've applied for a few jobs now, and have heard about an opening at Moses Cone in Greensboro and also applied there. 
Instead of Neverland, I'll just keep praying that God opens the right doors for me and uses me where He wants me.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Adventure to Africa... on Horseback

Last year, Travis took me to go ride horses. It's something that he really enjoys and I really thought I'd enjoy it to, I mean, what person doesn't like horses, right?? Little did I know what I was about to encounter: a huge four legged creature that had the capability to crush and/or throw me to my doom. After taking off from the pasture, I realized it wasn't going to be that bad. Wrong again. Apparently Jezebel, my horse, had ear mites. What that translated to was she didn't want to venture too far from her home in the pasture and didn't care if I wanted to or not. Not to mention it was HOT that day, and the poor horse was just sweating like crazy. That was the quickest horse ride I've been on.

So, when Travis asked me again if I wanted to go ride horses, I was a bit leery, as you can probably imagine. However, with the promise that Jezebel's ear mites had been fixed and that she really was a good horse, I gave in and tried it again. This time... much better! 

Our horse ride this time was in the little town of Happy Hollow- what a cute name for a horse ride! It was just Travis, his Uncle Mike and me. We had a great time! Went on a relatively long ride and even stopped at the NC Zoo to have our picture made with the Elephants! 

I forgot to mention that right before this horse ride, I had run a 5K that morning. By the end of this ride, my body was KILLING me. My poor little knees weren't sure they'd ever be able to walk again and the next morning my back was cursing me in every language. However, I didn't mind it too bad because I did the same exact thing two weeks later!

This time, it was a HUGE horse ride with LOTS of other people and horses. When I say lots, I'm talking 250+ horses. For this ride, in order to feel like a true country girl on a horse, I purchased a little something for myself...
 I couldn't be left out now, could I?! Everyone had a great time and after the ride there was a BBQ dinner and good times with good people. I can't wait til my next horse ride! Forgot to mention the ABSOLUTELY CUTEST thing I've ever seen: a little boy, maybe seven or eight, that was riding a miniature horse. That horse was barely off the ground. Probably one of the most precious things I've seen. Hate I didn't get a picture of it.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

run·ning (noun): the act of a person, animal, or thing that runs.

Back in March I ran my first 5K in Cullowhee, NC. Since then I've run four more 5K's... it's pretty addicting I must say.

"That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a run... from that day on, if I was going somewhere, I WAS RUNNIN'!"
-Forrest Gump 

Running for a Reason
Since March, I've recruited a new running partner, a girl from work, Robyn. I found that running with someone works way better than running by yourself. This proved true of my first race with her. We raced in Troy, NC at the 1st annual Running for a Reason 5K to support Relay for Life and finished within 31 minutes. A whole three minutes faster than my first race (granted the course was MUCH easier and not in the mountains). 

Rugged Maniac 
My next race after that was not your typical 5K. It was 3.1 miles, but it was also an obstacle course.... in the mud. Rugged Maniac is what actually what got me motivated to run. 10,000 people, wether spectating or racing, where in and out of that place all day long.... along with the ambulance. I guess having to sign a wavier form to run this race was a good indication that there was a possibility of getting hurt. Running through mud pits, crawling in ditches, climbing over walls, swimming through muddy waters, jumping over fire pits, you name it, we probably did it within that three mile course. I ran with a "team". That is, a group of people that all ran the race during the same time wave. We were there to help each other over the different obstacles. Our team name: The Mud Slugs. Clever huh? I only really knew two of the members of our group, but non the less we all still had a good time. To be honest, I kinda broke away from the group shortly after the buzzer and ran it at my own pace. Unfortunately, a guy on our team fell off one of the walls you had to climb up and over and ended up breaking his ribs so I was told.

 One muddy stained girl. 

Randolph RoadRunners 5K Health Run 
The next race that Robyn and I entered was a local one here in Asheboro. This one was not our best race by any means. In fact, it was probably one of my worst. The course for whatever reason, always proved to kick my butt every time I attempted to run it. None the less, we did finish it in 35 minutes. I was shooting for under 40, so I guess you could say that I accomplished my goal. 

Beach Blast 5K
After doing the RoadRunners 5K, someone told me about the Beach Blast 5K in Albemarle, NC. Well heck, since I was on a racing streak, I might as well enter this one as well. This course was pretty difficult with the hills that were in it. However, when I run, I run in my neighborhood of Greystone. If you know Greystone, you know that it is made up of nothing but hills, so I was somewhat prepared. I didn't do too terribly bad here, finishing in 32 minutes. 

My goal is to become faster, obviously. I really enjoy running. It clears my head and is a GREAT workout. I am also working on my distance. The furthest I've run is 5.1 miles with the hopes of one day soon stepping up my game and entering a 10K. However, I do have one more 5K in mind for the future and as soon as registration opens up I'm signing up for it. I encourage you to check this one out if you live in NC. It looks like soooo much fun! I would like to get a bunch of people to run/walk it wearing a white t-shirt and tutu. So if you're interested, let me know! 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Meet Travis

Name: Travis Woodell
Alias: Big Country
Birthday: April 23, 1989
Occupation: Lineman at Mastec Inc. 
Favorite Beverage: Sweet Tea
Favorite Activity: Hunting/Fishing
Favorite Song: "I Like it, I Love it"
His Favorite Person: Me (haha)

In all seriousness, Travis Woodell is one of the sweetest, kindest, most down to Earth guys that I've ever encountered. I'm introducing him to you guys because he'll probably be involved in many of my future blogs. So stay tuned, Travis and I have been on a couple of adventures in the past few weeks that I still need to blog about. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Guest Blogger

So since I've super busy as you may have figured out from my lack of blogging lately, my wonderful mother has graciously been kind enough to do a catch up blog for me. So read this for now, with the promise of later blogs to give you further details of recent events....

Since Megan can't slow down long enough to update her Blog I offered to be her guest columnist to keep her followers current on her Tasmanian Devil lifestyle. She is about to finish her 3rd semester at PCC in Greenville, NC, studying Radiation Therapy. She only has to attend classes there on Thursday. But Monday thru Wednesday she travels to Pinehurst  for actual clinical study and experience. After a short break she starts her final summer session, where she will continue the commute to Pinehurst and Greenville thru July.  August 1, 2012 is a red letter day, because she will complete her studies. Next up - pass the Registry to become certified.

Megan stays on the run all the time, between school, clinicals, going to the gym, work, boyfriend and social life (and of course doing favors and errands for me and her daddy and her brothers.) If that weren't enough, recently she has taken up running on her feet. And she has entered races. She blogged about her first event in Cullowhee. Since than she has been a mud stained “Rugged Maniac” and made the front page of the Asheboro paper in a race benefiting a local food pantry. She runs around the neighborhood to train, sometimes with someone she has persuaded  to accompany here, but often alone. At least I think that's what she's doing. She is always running out the door, either to go to clinicals, work, the gym, the movies or somewhere. I sure don't accompany her on her runs, or most places.
Megan probably has many topics for blogs. She had a major horseback riding event, her friends with twins (her Hawaii connection) have relocated back to NC, she needs to start the job hunt procedure and she just volunteered for an event. And I'm sure long distance travel is on her mind. She keeps mentioning New Zealand and now I hear Washington State, so I don't know where her next trip will be. And she is a thinker about topics of which I am completely unaware.
So stay tuned.....for her return.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

Happy Mothers Day to the most amazing and inspirational mother I've ever had and would ever want to have. You've always been there for me and are willing to help in any way you can. I'm truly honored to call you my mother. Without you, I wouldn't be the woman I am today. Thanks, mom, we love you! 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Amendment One

So as most of you North Carolinians know, yesterday was the big voting day for Amendment One. Personally, I didn't do enough research on it to be biased one way or the other. For the record, I do believe that marriage is one man and one woman, but as far as laws and rights and whatever else was supposedly involved in the amendment, I was very unclear of what was going on and therefore did not cast a vote. However, after seeing all the post on Facebook the following day about the outcome and bickering back and forth, I was beginning to get discouraged as to what is going on with this world. Someone posted this blog and I found it to be very powerful and completely how I feel about today so I thought I'd share. If any of you know Alicia Kellum, I stole this from her blog.

Amendment One
As you all know, today has been a day that will stick with us forever. I have been dreading this day for a long time, because I knew that with all of the remarks leading up to it, today would be one of pure hatred. Unfortunately, my expectations were met. So many that I once called "friend" have really shown their true colors, and it has made me realize that some things never change. History will always repeat itself. I understand that Amendment 1 is one of the most controversial topics of discussion in our world today, so a lot of this was no surprise to me. I knew that no matter which way the vote went, a large portion of people were still going to complain and be livid with the results. But for me, it is not so much how people voted, but it is how people are responding to it. I will be completely, 100% honest. I did not vote. I realize that as an American citizen, it is my right, duty, and responsibility to vote; however I could not bring myself to do it. But even though I had no part in this whatsoever, my feelings have been hurt to the point of tears today. My morals, my values, my religion, and my beliefs have been beaten to a pulp. I am a Christian, and I am also very, happily married. Let me just say that marriage and Christianity are not the enemies in this situation. I agree that there are many people who have made very questionable, and even wrong choices upon choosing a partner to marry. I realize that a large percentage of marriages end in divorce. I understand that numerous professing Christians are actually the most spiteful, judgmental, and hypocritical people you will ever meet. Don't you see? Marriage is not the enemy. Christianity is not the enemy. Homosexuality is not the enemy. We, ourselves, are the ones who are destroying any shred of hope for peace in this world. The even more unfortunate problem on our hands is the fact that these people exist on both sides of the spectrum. On one hand, we have people flaunting their win over gay marriage and civil unions. The people who condemn you for looking a certain way. You know who those people are....the ones trying to ram religion down your throat with fire and brimstone. Then, on the other side, you have those who are slandering the name of Jesus, and calling Christians uneducated bigots. And you know who those people are as well. The ones who laugh at you, judge you, and call you an idiot for choosing to live a life that glorifies a God that we cannot see. Did it ever occur to you that people did not make their decision BASED on hatred, Jesus, morals, religion, or sexual preference? Maybe they thought for hours, days even, on what could happen if they voted either way. We do not know the thought process of everyone who voted, and it is unfair to claim that we do. But as I said, it is the reaction that is upsetting me the most.
I am in major disagreement with the way both parties have acted, but mainly I'd like to talk to those who are claiming to follow Jesus. Whether you voted for OR against, I just want to say that it is interesting to me that those of you who profess to be Christians can treat people so poorly. It amazes me that if someone doesn't look or act or believe a certain way, that they are not worthy of your love, or even worse, God's love. Let me remind you of a little something real quick: 
Luke 6:27-36 [27] "But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, [28] bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. [29] If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. [30] Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. [31] Do to others as you would have them do to you. [32] "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. [33] And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. [34] And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. [35] But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. [36] Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. 
And how about this one:
1 Corinthians 13:4-8  Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. 

Now it has been very apparent to me that most of the hatred has come from those who voted against this Amendment. Understandably, things did not go their way, and I know that lives will be negatively affected by this. Some of them have hurt me significantly today with their rants, posts, quotes, statistics, and everything else they have said. Although it was not directed at me personally, I fell into the category that they were slandering, mainly just because I am a Christian, and I believe in marriage between a man and a woman. 
Leviticus 18:22 "Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin." 
 I was also raised to believe you should not live with your significant other until marriage. I do not look down on people who do this, but it is just how I was raised to believe. Marriage is a gift from God, and when it is practiced the right way, with the right person, it is something we should cherish and not look down on. 

 1 Corinthians 7 "But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.  The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.  The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife.  Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control." 
Mark 10:16 "But at the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason, man will leave his father and mother, and be united with his wife."
Do I believe that just because you live with your significant other that you are going to hell? Absolutely not. But I believe that there is a better way. I know that some people are in certain situations where they have had children out of wedlock, and because of that they have moved in with their significant other. I myself had a child out of wedlock, and felt pushed into the same situation. Thankfully, God showed me that it was not necessary to do that, and also that it was because of my own rebellion that I got myself into the situation in the first place. I had slept with someone before marriage, which God disagrees with. I asked God to forgive me, and I chose to change my life around, and God has blessed me with a wonderful husband. But this post, like I said, is not for anyone who voted either for or against. It is to everyone in general. No matter what your opinion or religion may be. So why am I focusing on  "Christians" so much right now, you ask. Mainly, because I feel like they are getting attacked the most, I feel that everyone is putting anyone who voted FOR the amendment, into the "religious" category, but mostly because we should hold ourselves more accountable for our actions. I believe there are Christians who voted both for and against this, but once again, it is not the voting, but the reaction that has spurred me to say something. Earlier, I said that some things never change and that history will always repeat itself. What I really meant by that is that the world always has, and always will hate Jesus. Amendment or no Amendment. It is something that, despite our efforts, is not going to disappear. Can we try our best to lead a lost world to Jesus? Absolutely. Are we going to accomplish that by condemnation? Absolutely not. I'm sorry, but there is no way that we can possibly combat hatred with hatred. That actually goes for both believers and non-believers. Should we stand up for what we feel is right? Yes. Should we offer people the truth instead of letting them believe it's okay to live a life not knowing Jesus? Yes. But should we do it with hate? No.
Also, remember this: Matthew 7:21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord', will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in Heaven." 
 Jesus preached to thousands upon thousands of people. He preached nothing but the truth, and was never once afraid to stand up for what He believed. But MOST importantly, He always, no matter what, made His life an AMAZING example, and lived a life of love. Is it wrong for people to come against us for what we believe by calling us ignorant, stupid, hateful, uneducated, and delusional? Of course it is. But they are not the ones trying to live like Jesus....we ARE, and the way we react can either prove them wrong...or prove them right.
After that being said, let me set this record straight. I am not claiming that just because you voted for the amendment, or even against the amendment, that that means you fit into any of these categories. But the fact that this has turned into a debate over the love of Jesus, is really amazing to me.
My pastor said something that really stood out to me a couple weeks ago. He said that God is love...but sometimes we tend to make love our god. God is overflowing with love, but He is also a God of wrath. And one day, He will be the one to judge the world. Not you, not I, not Mother Theresa.....God and God alone makes the final call. All we can do while we are still here is prove to people that God loves them and wants them, just as much as he loves and wants you and me. In the end, whether they choose to accept that or not, and choose to leave behind their old life, and start a new one with Jesus, is between them and God. We are ambassadors on this to tell people about Jesus. Not to force them out of sin, not to force them into the kingdom of Heaven.....but to let them know that this life has so much more to offer if they choose to live a life with Jesus Christ. 
In conclusion, until people stop hating others for not believing the same way that they do, this world will never change. No matter what side you are on, you are both claiming to hate the other side for hating you. That is just a never ending vicious cycle. At some point, someone has to combat that hatred with love. And there is no love stronger than the love of God. For those of you who are like me, just getting hurt by both sides in the middle of it all, I leave you with a few parting words:

John 15:18 "But if the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first."

Romans 8:37-40  "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Love God. Love People. The End.